Skip to main content

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012. .REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Guess who won the undecideds?
The magical 50 percent rule says that an incumbent is in danger if he or she is below 50 percent in the polling. The logic is that if someone isn't with an incumbent, odds are they'll opt for the challenger. I took a look at the rule in Senate races a few years ago and found:
So over the last two election cycles [2006 and 2008], no Senate incumbent polling exclusively over 50 percent has lost his or her race. And of those polling at least once under 50 percent in a reputable independent poll, 47.5 percent of their challengers have been able to knock them off.
I haven't updated those numbers since 2008, but point was, there was definitely some correlation between being an incumbent above 50 and chances of being reelected.

In 2004, President George W. Bush led narrowly in the final round of pre-election polling, but was firmly under 50 percent. Democrats like me convinced ourselves that John Kerry would win because of that 50 percent rule. We were wrong. Exit polling showed that Kerry did win the last-minute vote 52-45, but obviously that wasn't enough to pull him over the top.

Democrats learned our lesson that year, but Republicans clearly didn't notice. Because this year, the 50 percent rule was often cited as rationale for their delusions that Mitt Romney would knock off the president.

The final results? According to exit polling, Romney didn't do nearly as well as Kerry did with the late deciders. President Barack Obama won those who decided "in the last few days" by 50-45, and the last-minute deciders 51-44.

Republicans will blame Hurricane Sandy, of course. But the data simply doesn't show any movement toward the president as a result of the hurricane. That notion is objectively false.

What likely happened is what we knew would happen -- Romney tried to frame the election as a referendum on the president, while Democrats framed it as a choice. When push came to shove, people opted for the choice. And once they did that, it was no contest. The dick didn't stand a chance.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site